Anti-Marcos activists during the fateful declaration of Martial law have asserted that the country has gone worse compared with its status 30 years ago. With this, they have turned their backs to their olden beliefs and have chosen to support vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. instead to address the problem.
In a forum entitled “ 30 years after Edsa, Veterans unite for a better Philippines”, Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos, Pastor Grepor Belgica, labor leader Terry Tuazon and coconut farmers’ group representative Ka Efren Villaseñor called out the public to be objective in dealing with the events of the Marcos regime. They have also expressed their support for Marcos.
Abalos, who is one of those who joined the People Power Revolt in 1986 and whose family is an identified Aquino loyalist, appealed to the public to practice fairness in dealing with the Marcoses. He also added that he is supporting Marcos because of the belief that he is the most capable person among the vice presidential candidates.
“I would be betraying myself if I do not campaign for him, because it has always been in my character that even if the chips are down, I will stick by what I believe is right,” Abalos said.
Expectant of the fact that he and the others, who attended the forum may receive negative comments from the public, he still stands firm on his endorsement. He even said that it is unfair for the senator to be judged and be tagged of the things that had happened three decades ago.
“There is a proper institution to process this. Charges have been filed, and what should be recovered has already been recovered. Thirty years after and we are still barking up the same issues. Isn’t it unfair? And when will it stop? Does this mean that even Senator Marcos’ grandchildren and great grandchildren will be condemned?” Abalos said.
Tuazon on the other hand emphasized that it is during the Marcos regime that the Labor Code of the Philippines, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and TESDA were created.
For his part, Villasenor, Confederation of Coconut Farmers (Confed) national chairman also threw his support behind Marcos because he shared the same position with the coconut farmers that the coco levy fund should not be controlled by the government but rather, for the fund to be treated in a trust ownership where the farmers have the final say on how it will be spent by the government.
“Marcos was the only the senator who first threw his support behind the measure before other legislators saw the merits of our position,” Villasenor said.
Belgica, on the other hand said that the government is much worse off now than it was before because of the missing check and balance in government that was not reinstated after Congress was re-established in the wake of EDSA.
This, he said, enabled abuses such as the illegal Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP and billions worth of pork barrel to be spent without being monitored and without congressional scrutiny.
Belgica appealed for the public to move on from the martial law issue and put it in perspective since the main problem was not the decree in itself but rather that it overstayed. / Terry Quinto/